Coordinating Committee Shifts Gears
The Creating Sustainable Places Coordinating Committee — a multidisciplinary group of elected officials and public and private stakeholders who provide oversight for all grant activities — spent some time in late 2012 discussing the barriers and opportunities related to fostering more sustainable development in the Kansas City region. As a result of these discussions, committee members have formed two groups to focus in on key areas:
- Managing Developer Risk: Sustainable development is broadly characterized as addressing social, environmental and economic considerations simultaneously. It can take many forms, but typically includes more transportation and housing options. There is increasing support and demand for these types of places in our region. However, these are new models of development and are often considered risky for a number of reasons. This group aims to better understand developer risk and implement strategies to address it.
- Public Awareness and Support: Many types of sustainable development are new to the Kansas City area, and new models bring uncertainty — not just among developers and investors, but also among consumers and community leaders. This group aims to better understand how to build public awareness and community support for these new models.
These two groups have held regular meetings over the last couple of months. Each group will develop a list of strategies for the larger committee to study and act on in 2013 and beyond.
Corridor Project Update
All six of the Creating Sustainable Places corridor planning efforts are well underway. Most are scheduled for completion in early 2013. All have held public meetings and gotten excellent feedback from a variety of stakeholders.
Focus areas for each corridor range from development and area planning around strategic intersections to corridor-wide transit assessments. Those focusing on development and redevelopment opportunities are at a variety of different stages. Some have used this as an opportunity to conduct visioning on what the community would like to see in the future in these places. Others had already conducted this early visioning and are focused on implementation of existing plans.
As these projects are finalized, MARC will host one or more workshops and roundtable discussions with the different corridor teams. These meetings will be an opportunity to share lessons learned and ideas for continuing momentum beyond these projects in each community. More information can be found on the corridor websites.
Planning Sustainable Places update
The Planning Sustainable Places program has yielded 18 successful applications to advance sustainable development throughout the region. Over the course of 2012, an interdisciplinary oversight committee with representatives from both the CSP Coordinating Committee and the Total Transportation Policy Committee developed program guidelines and issued a call for projects. Strong demand for this program was evident, with a total of 38 applications.
The 18 projects are geographically and substantively diverse. They include area and corridor plans, site-specific development programs, and multimodal transportation efforts. In some cases, this program will support areas with minimal past planning efforts as these communities establish their own unique vision to shape development, redevelopment and infrastructure investments in strategic locations.
Some of the projects have already issued Requests for Proposals/Qualifications. All 18 will take place throughout 2013 with varying schedules and deliverables. More information can be online.
Model Sustainable Code Project Underway
A common barrier to creating more sustainable places is the lack of a regulatory foundation that allows and encourages such development and redevelopment. In November 2011, HUD provided a much-needed boost to this effort by awarding a Sustainable Communities Grant to MARC and the First Suburbs Coalition. The grant is supporting efforts to align codes and policies that will encourage and foster sustainable development and redevelopment. Specifically, this grant will include a model sustainable development code framework for the Kansas City region and related code audits of eight first suburb communities.
Work is well underway to develop the model code, with a completion goal of 12 to 18 months. The end product(s) will be two-fold.
- First, the model sustainable code will be a web-based, interactive and open source tool where users can navigate to different code topics and research best practices. This will include narratives accompanying key code strategies (e.g., what it is and why it is important), links to model regional and national ordinances, and in some cases cost/benefit analysis of key code strategies. The project will look at zoning, subdivision and building codes.
- Second, each of the eight participating jurisdictions will receive “audits” of their zoning, subdivision and building codes. This will include a section-by-section analysis of barriers, opportunities and recommendations for specific ordinance language each community.
You can help!
The success of Creating Sustainable Places depends on the active involvement of its partners and other stakeholders. MARC has established the organizational and communication mechanisms to do this, but we need your participation and input.
- Stay informed. Read our newsletters and visit the CSP website.
- Invite others. Are there others in your organization or community who should be on our mailing list? Send name, organization, title and contact information to Jeff Hirt.
- Tell us what you need. Let us know what sustainable development tools would be most helpful to your community. Also, please share information about existing tools you've found to be helpful.
- Share your ideas. What do you think is the most important thing that can come out of this project? And what do we need to do to make that happen?
Please feel free to contact Dean Katerndahl, 816-701-8243 or Jeff Hirt, 816-701-8305, with any questions, ideas or information about this initiative.